Taking the Gap Year Leap, Literally!

By Katherine Sorensen


Born and raised in NYC, I had never considered taking a gap year until the college I was planning on attending announced that they would not be accepting students on to campus for the Fall 2020 Quarter only three weeks before our move-in date. After two phone calls with my parents (whom I wouldn’t be seeing until after the gap year deadline had passed), I decided to defer until Fall Quarter of 2021!


Only three weeks later, I found myself living in the D.C/Georgetown area with a friend from high school who was a sophomore at Georgetown. During the next ten weeks, as I wished to have face-to-face interactions after many months of quarantine and online school, I worked as a stylist at a clothing store called AllSaints while tutoring students during my days off. I then returned to New York City where I continued with tutoring and began planning for a month long trip to Cape Town, South Africa to volunteer at a local school. However, with the spread of the second Covid variant becoming more prominent in South Africa, less than two weeks before I was supposed to leave, I decided to postpone my volunteering until the Summer and instead chose to go on a backpacking trip in Hawaii.

As I had only around ten days to plan for the trip, I bought a one-way ticket to Honolulu, booked four nights at a hostel, and then took things from there! I ended up spending just over a month on Hawaii, where I traveled to the islands of Oahu, Big Island, and Maui. I had an incredible experience with solo-backpacking and staying in hostels, as it brought me into contact with many different kinds of people from all over the world and country; I would definitely recommend this form of travel! After returning from Hawaii, I then left for a ten-week road trip around the U.S with two friends from high school who are also on gap years. We just finished week one!